Red River redux

This northern New Mexico mining town is what family ski vacations are all about

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The main draw is the ski area, set up to attract families and beginner to intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Its six lifts lead up to 57 runs, many of them comfortingly wide and dimpled with easily negotiated bumps, though a few black diamond runs, such as Mineshaft, add a challenge.

Snow-season visitors can also go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, or snowmobiling without straying far from town. We drove up to Bobcat Pass and found perfectly groomed nordic ski trails at the Enchanted Forest Crosscountry Ski and Snowshoe Area.

Downtown establishments do what they can to amuse visitors who want to round out a short day on the slopes. Entering a shop, we quickly came to expect a friendly, "Hi. Where y'all from?"

While choices aren't extensive, there is variety among the small shops and boutiques strung along a short segment of Main Street. The Jewelry Lady showcases Native American silver and turquoise along with pieces from around the world. Across the street, NorthWind Gallery displays carved wood birds, fine art pottery, porch furniture, and paintings. On Pioneer Road near the base of the ski area, Red River Gallery of Fine Arts features cowboy paintings by resident Kenneth Wyatt. Break up your Main Street shopping or just kick back with a good book and a cappuccino at the Black Crow Coffee House.

The great outdoors, shopping, and a choice of fine dining or casual, quirky restaurants--there's plenty to keep a family busy. One word of warning: If you don't arrive with a country drawl or a Texas twang, you just might leave town with one. It's catching.

Red River is about 110 miles northeast of Santa Fe. For a free visitor's guide, contact the Red River Chamber of Commerce (800/348-6444 or www.redrivernewmex.com).

 

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